V/H/S Review: Blood, Gore, Breasts, And Boredom
Actually, it's not fair to paint Swanberg as the sole perpetrator of that particular transgression. For reasons I cannot fathom, overall the women are portrayed pretty awfully in these films (with Tuesday the 17th being the lone exception). They're undressed, exposed, manipulated, abused, molested and generally treated like trash by almost every character in almost every sequence, and if there's a purpose to it, it escaped me. This ties into the next issue and a large reason that the film stumbles overall, which is that the characters are frequently terribly written. They're underdeveloped, shiftless, unlikable, and utterly lacking in purpose or appeal. Perhaps that's done with reason, yet all it does is disengage the viewer by eliminating any sense of empathy.
The film eschews many of the conventional filming approaches and instead has a rambling, insipidly mundane indie feel that on occasion staggers towards the dreaded mumblecore, and while that can sometimes work in the dramatic realm, here it frequently blows up in their faces. More often than not, we end up with an introductory narrative that feels tediously monotonous, with paper-thin characters that are both boring and offensive. It's an extended feeling of muddled and dysfunctional dialogue that's abruptly interrupted by an explosion of bloodcurdling violence and unpleasant goriness, creating a severely disjointed and disruptive viewing experience (not helped by being far too long -- at two hours, it just felt interminable at parts). Sometimes it succeeds, in some it fails, but taken as a whole V/H/S feels self-indulgent, excessive, and often simply dull.
V/H/S is in select theaters and also available via iTunes and Amazon Instant.